Sugar VS Tooth Enamel – (Spoiler alert: your teeth don’t win)
July 22, 2020
You’ve heard it said time and time again, “Sugar causes cavities”. You might wonder if this statement is really true. In short, yes, but there is more to it. The act of consuming sugar does not necessarily lead to cavities. But excess sugar, sweet treats that are eaten at the wrong time, irregular hygiene habits, and skipped dental visits are a recipe for tooth decay.
Teeth come in with a protective layer called enamel. The job of your tooth enamel is to provide a shield against bacteria or acids that can jeopardize the health of your tooth. Your mouth also has bacteria, some good, some bad.
When you eat sugary snacks, a specific group of harmful bacteria actually ingests the sugar, producing acid. This acid starts a process called demineralization. Simply put, bacteria ingests sugar and creates acid. This acid attacks the minerals in tooth enamel, weakening it.
Once your enamel is weakened, the easier it becomes for small holes (cavities) to form in your teeth.
Additionally, bad bacteria love sugar. The more sugar you eat, the more this bacteria will thrive and reproduce, making a bigger and bigger problem in your mouth. These bad bugs also create plaque on your teeth, which is sticky yet colorless.
The good news is that there are several things you can do to keep your teeth healthy, even if you do enjoy a sweet once in a while. A few immediate actions you can take when consuming sugary foods are:
● Eat sweets and sugary foods with your meals, not between. By eating these foods with your meals, your saliva is actively working to clean your teeth.
● Drink water with food and snacks
● If you enjoy sweet drinks, drink them with a straw and follow up with a swish of water.
● Make it a point to brush after eating sticky foods. If you absolutely cannot brush afterward, try eating an apple or a carrot. Crunchy foods help clean your teeth and increase the saliva.
The truth is, maintaining good dental hygiene habits is the only way to keep your smile beautiful. Brush and floss twice daily. Drink water between meals. And visit your dentist regularly. Cleanings are necessary to keep plaque from building up and causing permanent damage.
If you are in the Charlotte North Carolina area and are looking for a dentist, we invite you to give us a call at Park Crossing Dentistry. We specialize in pediatric and family dentistry as well as aesthetic and general dentistry and serve the entire Charlotte area. Give us a call today!